Spoiler makes jumps, Cluemaster's a chump, and Batman's in a slump in this thrilling twenty-fourth installment of DC's weekly Batman tale. Behind the scenes of Hush's master plan we see the rest of the C-listers work their magic to escalate the disaster, but one plucky purple pubescent stuns her super bad dad as well as me in her efforts to derail his part in the greater scheme at work. Am I really reading a comic with Stephanie Brown in it and actually enjoying her in it? Wha? How is that a thing?
I've never liked Stephanie Brown. To be honest, most of her original appearances completely passed me by, either because I didn't read those issues of the Bat books, or just filtered her out. I didn't really start to even notice her existence until Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive when she gets closer to Cassandra Cain and even works alongside Black Canary. I shook with pure rage that she became Robin (for a moment or two). Who was she? Nobody! She was an annoying nobody! She can't be Robin! Certainly not a replacement for my FAVORITE Robin, Tim Drake!
And then the dumb little bitch died. Captured by Black Mask. Tortured brutally by him. Escapes but then dies of her injuries. Causes a huge disaster in that storyline that basically ruined Batman's relationship with the police. Hated the character. Didn't feel offended that she was killed off. I thought, "Good, fuck that bitch." War Games was a terrible storyline, but at least she was dead and out of my Batman books forever.
So, of course, they brought her back, said she had never really died. Made her Batgirl! So this annoying brat of a character with no real skills, a grating personality, this phony "regular girl" persona gets to not only replace my favorite Robin but then my favorite Batgirl as well? I was livid. When they folded her up and erased her existence in the New 52 (at first), I thought, "Good. She was just an annoying Tim Drake supporting character that got out of hand. She was Tim Drake's tumor." And then Scott Snyder brought her back in the preview to this book. I was less than thrilled. Harper Row was already a much more interesting character than Stephanie Brown had ever been.
Let me make this clear: this is NOT a gender thing. I have ALWAYS loved Cassandra Cain. She was a compelling character introduced perfectly in a great storyline. Stephanie just kind of appeared, was annoying, took away from stories about Tim Drake and Cassandra Cain, and then received all this attention when she did less than Huntress and wasn't even as interesting. There are plenty of great female characters out there, some of whom still haven't appeared in this new continuity, like Renee Montoya. Or, you know, CASSIE (well, technically she has appeared, but in an alternate future timeline).
But fine, with the New 52, I was willing to give Steph a chance. After all, here she isn't just some outgrowth of Tim, so she can't possibly be blocking his growth. (No, the writers of the New 52 books are the ones blocking Tim's growth... thank you very much, Mr. Lobdell.) She's introduced in a way where her father's plans are part of a bigger plan that's affecting all of Gotham and she's stepping up to stop him and help foil that big scheme, becoming her own character, on her own.
And now I love this damn girl! More of THIS Stephanie Brown. More of THIS Spoiler, please, thank you, DC. Because I loved this freaking issue!
Well, first of all, I am assuming that the figure in the shadows is Hush, though there's some doubt there, because they keep him in the shadows when we all know the guy who's been pulling so many strings is indeed Hush. It's been revealed already, so why is he still just a shadowy figure when he shows up? Is it possible it's somebody else or is it just a red herring? Maybe the plans for the story were so backed up that maybe they thought it would be revealed in this issue, continuing the trend from the past couple of issues of being possible places the Hush reveal could have gone if not earlier. But it's also possible there's somebody else involved.
Little does Cluemaster know, Signalman is really just playing GTA all day.
We see that Steph has always been a daring girl. Obviously Arthur Brown has had to deal with his little daredevil daughter for her whole life. But screw that guy, he's a scumbag, I'm just saying that maybe the gene to show off has been passed down here. Obviously for Cluemaster it arises from a sense of superiority, similar to Riddler's.
Layla Miller, is that you?
I am a little curious as to one particular thing about Stephanie's prowess in taking on her father, though. As in, how is she able to do so with such proficiency? When did she train for any of this? We see in the flashback that she's been doing stupid stunts and we get that she's been in hiding, but I've not seen any particularly compelling evidence that she was able to train herself to do the kind of moves she pulls off, the jumping around, the preparation for some of the stunts she pulls while being chased, under fire, without so much as breaking a sweat. I can't imagine a hidey hole at a city library would be very conducive to martial arts training. But fine, I'll hand wave it for now. After all, she's only taking on Cluemaster.
Must've taken a correspondence course on ninja-ing.
Batman, meanwhile... seriously, man, what's up with you, Bats? You've been really lagging behind. You're just now catching on to the fact that there are problems over at Arkham? Yeah, I know that "Joker's Daughter" spoke into Batwing's communicator with his voice making you think it was fine, but that was several issues ago and you've not heard any word back. Even in your busy schedule, surely you could have wondered before now what was going on over there? But I'll tell you what's going on at Arkham: nothing worth reading, judging by those issues.
This modern art is a little too abstract for me.
Next issue: Taser Girl Begins!
- Penguin Truth
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: Ray Fawkes
Consulting Writers: Kyle Higgins & Tim Seeley
Art: Andy Clarke
Lettering By: Steve Wands
Cover By: Brad Anderson
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger